I’m going to break one of my rules.
OK, I’m going to break my only rule and we’re going to talk about a subject other than architecture, but I suppose it could fall into a favorite category of mine, community. I have written often about architectural education, being an adjunct professor and even once about my favorite teachers.
In the spirit of empathy, equity and education I’m going to share a letter written by someone that is worthy to have me break my rule, my wife Amy.
Call me biased, but for almost 24 years I’ve watched my wife’s career and know first-hand of her tireless commitment as well as the commitment of many of her colleagues and several of our friends. I’m so glad she found the energy to respond to an article in our local newspaper. For the sake of the paper, she had to edit her comments down to 200 words, I told her I’d give her a platform to share the original article. You can click on the link in her text to read the article or even click here to read the abridged version that appeared in the paper. If you’re so inclined to see the pejorative rhetoric from the misinformed, scroll down and read the comments. Fortunately, there are some with courage to speak up.
I support teachers. Here is her full article.
Recently, staff writer Jacob Tierney wrote an excellent article http://tinyurl.com/okx8fs6 regarding the Greensburg Salem School District negotiations & vigil. It was a fair, informative representation of the situation and very well written.
However, in reading the online comments by, well, whoever cared enough to comment, I am struck by one in particular that shows a long held bias against educators, and I would like to address the comment, as I think perhaps much of the public is uninformed in this area.
One person posted “…do you mean the same teachers who use the same lesson plan & tests year after year, have every conceivable holiday off, stay in bed if a trace of snow hits the ground, sleep through study halls and have a grueling 6 hour work day and 9 month work year?”
I am amazed that this archaic view of educators as a whole persists to this day, and I would like to say the following:
Yes, unfortunately, there are some teachers who are duds, as there are some doctors, bank tellers, grocery clerks, mechanics, and people in every profession who do not live up to the expectations of their jobs. However, you fail to recognize the vast majority of teachers. Those who…
…are constantly on the lookout for new approaches and ideas, new classes & changes in curriculum to benefit today’s learners
…are dealing with nebulous expectations from the PA Dept. of Ed, trying to shoot at a moving target in the dark
…use their own money to purchase Secret Santa gifts…and pencils…and shoes…and food…and, and, and…for students who are lacking
…spend hours tutoring students who are placed in classes that are beyond their current reach, but were put there by special requests from home
…argue for students who need specialized curriculum to meet their needs, whether they are on the upper or lower end of the scale
…work many extra hours at home planning, grading, crunching data, etc.
…are called names, spit at, talked over, disobeyed and generally disrespected, and do not respond in kind, but rather try to determine what is at the root of the behavior
…listen to students’ problems and struggles and try to determine the best course of action – simply lend a listening ear, speak with a guardian, seek further intervention – and pray that they have chosen correctly for that particular student
…spend their own time and money on continuing education – both mandated and voluntary – in order to continually better their craft
…encourage students to reach beyond what they think they are capable of & become so much more than they ever dreamed.
…do this “job” not for the riches or the “summers off” but for the love of your children & the desire to make the world a better place by positively influencing one child at a time.
There is so much more to teaching than the lesson plans and tests…which should also be relevant and effective. The jobs that teachers are doing today are full of considerably more than even ten years ago. In most districts, like GS, the teachers are simply looking for some respect, for a salary that keeps up with inflation, and to be given the freedom to do their 21st century jobs in the best, most effective way possible. Rather than falling back on outdated stereotypes, let’s celebrate – or at least give a little respect to – the real, successful people who pour their hearts and souls into this calling and make a difference in our crazy, ever changing world.
Whatever your cause is make your voice heard regardless of your point of view. Yet, let’s remain civil, intelligent, and for goodness sake, check your spelling. Lastly, thank a teacher – better yet, find your teachers (if you can) and thank them in person for the difference they made in your life.